Scottish musician and composer Malcolm Middleton (formerly of Arab Strap) teams up with British visual artist David Shrigley, for their collaborative album ‘Music and Words’. The new album combines Middleton’s musical style with spoken word performances by Shrigley, resulting in an incredibly visceral yet engrossing album experience. Many of the tracks are dominated by a harsh electronic-punk style, partnered up with crude and humorous monologues. The whole album experience is one that is rather experimental for the most part, and one that is largely inaccessible for the most part, though one that is certainly enjoyable in a very odd way.
‘Music and Words’ for the most part is an incredibly harsh album experience. Both the music being presented by Middleton, and the performances of Shrigley seem to occupy ugly and odd worlds that are utterly engrossing. There’s incredibly crude humour being used by Shrigley in his performances, which oddly enough make the whole effort interesting in an odd way. The spoken word performances seem to be the main element of the tracks themselves, with Middleton’s music occupying more of a supporting role on the album. Even so, there’s a wonderful collaborative effort between the two performers, with both complimenting each others creative ideas in a very interesting way.
Some might find ‘Music and Words’ to be a hard album to swallow. The incredibly harsh elements of the album make it one that should not be taken so lightly. Harsh music coupled up with harsh vocal performances make the whole effort one that is a little difficult to enjoy at times. Those who enjoy Middleton’s music, both his solo works and his work with Arab Strap, might find many of the elements on ‘Music and Words’ to be rather unexpected. Those going into this work expecting something different might find it to be an enjoyable effort, or even those who enjoy crude humour.
Middleton and Shrigley’s collaborative effort is a rather odd one, though perhaps one that is to be expected from both these artists. There’s a great creative element running throughout the album itself, which presents some very interesting ideas here and there in its tracks. There’s a strong flow to the album, which rarely offers solace in its visceral presentation of its own material. ‘Music and Words’ is for the most part a rather bizarre album experience, though one that still allows itself to be appreciated.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Dear Brain
- Story Time
- A Computer
Malcolm Middleton and David Shrigley’s latest album ‘Music And Words’ is out now.